Oscar Pafka (1896 – 1949) Famous Znojmo Painter and Graphic Artist

Oscar Pafka was born on 7th December 1896 in Znojmo in the home of the family baker Johann Pafka on Kalchergasse 19 (later Kollarova Street).

He attended  the  Professional School of  Ceramics (K. K. Fachschule für Tonindustrie) in Znojmo from 1911-1914.

In 1914 as a student he presented an artistic proposal at the Frieze Exhibition for the Union of  German-Moravian Artists at Znojmo Castle. As a result of his proposal he was accepted into the Master School for Monumental Sculpturing at the School of Applied Arts in Vienna.

Along with the other students, Pafka enthusiastically absorbed the artistic atmosphere of Vienna up until 15th April 1915, when he was recruited to the front, in the First World War. It was a fateful intervention in his life. The experience of war, the loss of illusion, suffering and horror marking him for life.

April 1920 after the war, he continued to study but back in Znojmo where he completed his studies at the Professional Ceramic School.

On 14 September 1926, he married Jelena Nas, born in Sarajevo.  The wedding took place in Prague in Vinohrady.

In the years 1930-1931, during a year-long stay in Prague, he visited the Wagner festival in Düsseldorf. On his return he stopped at Berlin, where he was attracted to the Berlin museum’s exhibition of Egyptian art. He was so taken with the exhibitions that he started to study in the Museum in Berlin and later in Prague.

He divorced on 7th November 1936.  In 1939 he went to Vienna, where his sister, Hermina, lived with her husband Robert Obsieger, Who became the Head of the ceramic workshops at the Academy of Arts.

In Vienna in 1942 he married a second time to Erna, née Lomprer-Dobnerovou, which also ended in divorce during the Second World War.

Towards the end of World War II he went to Voitsberg for a commission from Rakuschu Bakers,  who were aquaintances of Pafka’s father. In 1948 he completed the facade design on the Bäckerei Rakuscha building which was a sgraffito symbolizing the preparation of bread.

He died in Voitsberg, Austria on 4th March 1949 .


Pafka’s artistic career was devoted to cartoon humor, cartoon allegories, sgrafito and architectural paintings.

The typical appearance of Pafka’s works was led by strong linear patterns, consisting of geometrically imposed lines and curves. The decorative design elements reflect the late Viennese Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles, while the concept of thoughtful content in the vast majority of his works reflects the spirit of symbolism.


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